Online Manual for the Forest Tree Seeds of Kerala

A Kerala Forest Department Funded Project

Dr. K Sudhakara
Professor & Head of the Department
Dept. of Silviculture & Agroforestry
College of Forestry, Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur 680 656
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Scientific Name  Albizia lebbeck (L.) Benth.
Vernacular name  Bhandir, Garso (Hindi); Vellavaga, Vaka, Karimthakara (Malayalam); Karuvagei (Tamil); Kalshish, Siris (Hindi) (Chacko et al., 2002).
Common name  East Indian Walnut, Frywood tree, Indian siris, Woman's tongue tree (Chacko et al., 2002).
Synonyms  Mimosa lebbeck L., Acacia lebbeck (L.) Willd., (Chacko et al., 2002); A. latifolia Boivin, A. speciosa Willd., A. sirissa Ham.
Family  Leguminosae
Subfamily  Mimosoideae
Distribution  One of the most commonly found trees in India both in forests and cultivated in the avenues (Troup, 1921).
Description  A moderate sized to a large deciduous tree, usually with a straight bole and broad crown (Gamble, 1922).
Flowering season  March to June (Troup, 1921).
Fruiting season  Ripens during December to January; January to Febuary (Sen Gupta, 1937; Chacko et al., 2002).
Flowers  Whitish, very fragrant, in globose umbellate heads.
Fruits  Pods are thin, flat shaped, dehiscent, rounded at both ends, pale straw colour, smooth, shiny, reticulately veined (Troup, 1921).
Fruit type  Pods.
Seeds  Seed 4-12, ellipsoid, ovate or oblong, compressed, pale brown, and smooth, with a hard testa (Troup, 1921).
Seed length  7-13 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed width  6-9 cm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed thickness  1-3 mm (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed weight  8,000 seeds/kg 3,700 to 6,000 to 16,000 seeds/kg (FRI, 1981; Carlowitz, 1991; Kindt,1997; Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed dispersal  Wind.
Seed Collection  Maturity indices for harvesting pods is a change in colour from yellow green to greyed-orange and that of seeds, from yellow-green to brown which is associated with the decline in moisture content of the seeds and an increase in its dry weight. Last week of December is the ideal time for the seed collection of A. lebbeck (Bhardwaj et al., 2004; Bhardwaj et al., 2002). Mature fruits (Pods) are yellow in colour, collected from the tree by knocking off the pods using long stick (FRI, 1983). Mature pods remain on trees for about four months (Chacko et al., 2002). The seed collection methods are: hand plucking of ready to mature seeds in December and collection from the ground of seeds that had fallen naturally in February (Archana Sharma et al., 2002).
Transportation of seeds  Pods are packed in cotton jute bags and transported (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed processing  The pods are dried in the sun till they dehisce and release seeds. Seeds are also extracted by beating them with a stick if necessary (FRI, 1983; Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed storage  Orthodox (Napier and Robbins, 1989; Kindt et al., 1997). Seeds after drying under sun, can be stored in sealed plastic or aluminium containers for one year (FRI, 1983) and even up to five years if properly stored (Dent, 1948; Chacko et al., 2002). The seeds are separated from the pods and stored in full sunlight for 5 months (Navarro Boulandier and Gonzalez, 2000). Viability decreases with increase in the storage period. Use of storage media help to increase the percentage of seed viability (Khomane and Bhosale, 2003). The seeds stored in sealed plastic container with silica gel after 12 months give germination value of 55%, plant percent 49.3, growth of seedling 49.3 and a root shoot ratio of 1.37 (Archana Sharma and Sunil Agarwal, 2002). Seeds stored in plastic jars at 4 +or-1oC temperature after 16 months of storage give 54% germination (Bhardwaj et al., 2007).
Viability period  Seeds with initial germination of 20% have been stored in sealed tins for six years without substantial loss of viability (Dent, 1948; Chacko et al., 2002). Viability decreased with an increase in the storage period.In general, the use of storage media help to increase the percentage of seed viability (Khomane et al., 2003).
Seed emptiness  Negligible (up to 3%) (Chacko et al., 2002).
Seed pre treatment  Soak the seeds for 24 hrs in boiled water and allow to cool (Kumar and Bhanja, 1992; Chacko et al., 2002; Bhardwaj et al., 2007; Gopal Shukla et al., 2007) or scarify the seeds using conc. Sulphuric acid for 25 min, wash thoroughly with running water and soak for 24 hrs in water before sowing (Chacko, 2002; Bhardwaj et al., 2007; Agboola et al., 2005). File-off fragment of testa and soak in water for 2 to 3 hrs (Edwards and Naithani, 1999). In addition, different pretreatments include sulfuric acid treatment, puncturing with hot needle; scaling with knife; and rubbing with sand paper (Neeta Mutha et al., 2004). Mechanical scarification by puncturing with hot needle or scaling with knife is done to achieve high values of germination percentage and germination value (Neeta Mutha et al., 2004). 0.01-0.04 ppm IAA, and 0.01-0.05 ppm-GA3 also enhance germination in A. lebbeck. IAA (01-0.05 ppm), IBA (0.03-0.04 ppm), and GA3 enhance plant height, dry weight and leaf number respectively in A. lebbeck (Ebofin et al., 2003). Irrespective of temperature conditions, scarification with acid treatment provides significantly maximum germination (Punam et al., 2002). Gibberellic acid (300 ppm), has positive influence over shoot length, total chlorophyll and soluble protein content of the seedlings. Cycocel (3%) affects leaf area and total dry weight. Whereas Alar (300 ppm) has influence on root length (Ilango et al., 2003). Dry dressing of A. lebbeck seeds with calcium oxychloride (bleaching powder) at 2 g/kg of seeds reduce the physiological deterioration of seeds inflicted due to storage. Besides germination percentage, seed vigour as measured by shoot and root length and dry matter of seedlings is also influenced by this treatment (Vanangamudi et al., 2002). It is also recommended to treat A. lebbeck seeds with water at 80oC for 5-30 min before sowing (Gonzalez and Navarro, 2001).
Germination type  Epigeal (FRI, 1983; Chacko et al., 2002).
Germination percentage  Up to 94 (Sen Gupta, 1937; Chacko et al., 2002). The percentage germination in pretreated seeds ranged between 60-100% (Agboola et al., 2005). Heavy seeds recorded higher germination percentage, germination value and Dickson's quality index compared to
Germination period  7 to 30 days (Kumar and Bhanja, 1992; Chacko et al., 2002).
Nursery technique  Seeds are sown in seed beds or germination trays in March and seedlings are pricked out to containers. Seeds can also be sown directly in 20 x 10 cm bags filled with potting mixture. 1:1 mixture of soil and sheep manure is also good for germination (Manisha Kumar et al., 2000). The seedlings are sometimes attacked by jassids, systemic insecticide (Nuvacron) (monocrotophos) can be used at 0.2 to 0.5% by volume (Rai, 1999; Chacko et al., 2002). Seeds stored for 5 months in full sunlight, followed by seeds stored for 3 and 2 months in full sunlight (Navarro Boulandier et al., 2000). Treatment with 46 mg N+17 mg P2O5 +30 mg K2O and 23 mg N+8.5 mg P2O5 +30 mg K2O are effective in increasing biomass production (Jai Kumar and Siddiqui, 2005). The application of 100 kg P2O5 ha-1 is found to be suitable for better growth and production (Roy et al., 2004). Rhizobium + Trichoderma inoculation with a potting mixture of sand, soil and farmyard manure in the ratio of 1:1:1/2 (v/v) results in better performance of the seedlings (Mohit Gera and Neelu Gera, 2002).
Method of propagation  By seeds.
Vegetative propagation 
Pests  Low to moderate (8 to 53%). Beetles are the major pests. The bruchids, Bruchus pisorum L., B. saundersi Jekel., Bruchidius uberatus Fb., B. sparsimaculatus Pisc. and Caryedon gonagra Fb., cause most damage (Browne, 1968; Chacko et al., 2002).
Diseases  High (53-73%). Species of Aspergillus, Chaetomium, Rhizopus, Pencillium are the important storage moulds. Colletotrichum gloeosporioides, Fusarium sp. and Phoma sp. are the important field fungi affecting the seeds (Mohanan and Sharma, 1991, Chacko et al., 2001, Chacko and Mohanan, 2002; Chacko et al., 2002).
Medicinal properties  Bark, leaves, flowers are medicinal.The plant is reported to have antiseptic and anti tubercular properties. The bark is recommended for bronchitis, leprosy and useful in inflammations. The bark and seeds are astringent, useful in piles and diarrhoea and act as a tonic and restorative. Albizzia lebbeck is used to treat chronic diarrhoea, dysentery and snake bite. The methanol extracts of A. lebbeck is effective against Klebsiella pneumoniae (Goswami and Singh, 2006). Alcoholic extract from leaves of Albizia lebbeck with an antibiotic (oxytetracycline) is active against Salmonella typhi using disc diffusion method (Gaurav Srivastava and Bohra, 2005). Albizia lebbeck is used to treat chronic diarrhoea, dysentery and snake bite (Ch et al., 2006). A. lebbeck possess anti-asthmatic, anti-inflammatory, anti-fertility and anti-diarrhoeal properties. A. lebbeck is an important source of chemicals of melacacidin, D-catechin, beta -sitosterol, albizia hexoside, betulinic acid which are effective as antiseptic, anti-dysenteric, anti-tubercular and used in bronchitis, leprosy, paralysis, and helminth infection (Arvind Kumar et al., 2007).
Uses  The tree is planted to check soil erosion, as shade tree in coffee and cardamom plantations and as a green manure. The wood is short fibred, suitable for writing and printing paper. Bark contains tannin and is used for tanning fishing nets. A. lebbeck has salt tolerance (Yadav et al., 2005). Nitrogen and phosphorus content increases in the leaves with increasing levels of salinity. Potassium content decreases, while sodium content in the leaves increases (Yadav et al., 2003). Aqueous leaf extracts derived from Albizia lebbeck has inhibitory effect in root and lateral root development, germination and shoot growth. Inhibitory effect is proportional to the concentrations of the extracts and higher concentration (50%-100%) had the stronger inhibitory effect whereas the lower concentration (10%-25%) showed stimulatory effect (Uddin et al., 2007). A. lebbeck seeds are rich in crude protein and carbohydrate but low in lipid content. Phytochemical screening of the seeds reveal the presence of saponins and oxalate, while tannins, cyanogenic glycoside and phytic acid levels are low. The seeds of this plant may serve as a cheap source of protein and carbohydrate in food supplements for animals (Auta and Anwa, 2007; Anwa et al., 2007).
Wood properties  The sapwood is white or yellowish white and the heartwood, which is sharply demarcated from the sapwood, is brown or darker streaks. The wood is moderately hard and moderately heavy with interlocked grain and coarse texture. Pores are scanty, large, in rings of soft tissue, in oblique somewhat radial strings, very prominent as dark streaks on a vertical section. Medullary rays fine, distant, not conspicuous in silver grain (Gamble, 1922).
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